While the holiday season is a great opportunity to celebrate with people you love, it can also be a time of over-indulging and eating foods that aren’t really the best for your health.
Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice yummy food or your well-being during this year’s holidays! We’ve compiled a list of seven healthy holiday dishes that are not only delicious but also nutritious!
Read more for inspiration on recipes to share at your next party!
1. Paleo Apple Muffins with Crunchy Crumb Topping
Recipe courtesy of A Sweet Pea Chef with Lacey Baier
These muffins aren’t only delicious but also nutrient-dense and have no refined sugars. Every ingredient is a whole food ingredient, which means there are no added preservatives or extra fillers in these muffins—so you can enjoy them guilt-free!
For the Muffins:
- ⅔ cup paleo baking flour
- ½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup raw honey
- 1 medium green apple, diced
For the Cinnamon Crunch Topping:
- ½ cup almond flour/meal
- 1½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup raw walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp raw honey
- Lightly grease the muffin tin with coconut oil and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine all the dry ingredients for the muffins in a large mixing bowl.
- Combine the wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.
- Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Fold in the diced green apple.
- To make the cinnamon crunch topping, combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir. Then add melted coconut oil and honey and stir until mixed evenly.
- Spoon out the batter evenly in a greased tin. Make sure you pack it in there since the batter is really thick.
- Generously sprinkle the cinnamon crunch on top of the muffins.
- Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Enjoy!
2. Bacon-Wrapped Dark Chocolate and Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates
Recipe courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen
These bacon-wrapped dates are a fantastic appetizer to bring to your next holiday party! They are a great sweet and savory snack and contain heart-healthy dark chocolate and goat cheese, which is high in protein and provides healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
For the Dates:
- 1-2 oz goat cheese
- 1-2 squares of 72% dark chocolate, chopped (optional)
- 1 (12oz) package of bacon
- 20-24 pitted dates
For the Glaze:
- 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
- cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place parchment paper on your baking sheet.
- Split your dates down the middle without cutting through them entirely.
- Spread goat cheese mixture inside the date and add a piece of dark chocolate with it. Repeat this step with all your dates.
- Cut your bacon strips in half and wrap ½ a piece of it around your date. Repeat this for all your dates.
- Place your dates on the baking sheet with the end of the bacon facing down.
- Brush each date wrapped in bacon with a little maple syrup and add your favorite flavors on top, such as cayenne pepper. Place a toothpick in your dates.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn them so the toothpicks are laying flat on the sheet. Bake for 10 more minutes. Flip the dates once more and bake for another 10 minutes. Place them on a plate and serve immediately.
3. Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Recipe courtesy of Clean Eating Kitchen
Sweet potatoes are a must at every holiday party! Not only are they a tasty seasonal food, but they are great for gut health and rich in antioxidants—which can help your body reduce oxidative stress and the risk of certain cancers. Try this yummy sweet potato dish and enjoy all the health benefits of sweet potatoes this holiday season!
- 5 medium to large sweet potatoes
- 1 cup of water
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp of sea salt
- 2 Tbsp of butter, ghee, or vegan butter
- Peel and chop sweet potatoes into 1inch cubes. Add to the Instant Pot.
- Sprinkle in cinnamon, dried thyme, and salt.
- Pour water into the pot and mix it in.
- Lock the lid and place it on high pressure for 8 minutes. When the time is up, use the quick-release option for steam.
- Add maple syrup and butter to the potatoes and mash them together.
4. Healthy Green Bean Casserole
Recipe courtesy of A Sweet Pea Chef with Lacey Baier
A delicious green bean casserole is a staple at most holiday meals. Unfortunately, many traditional recipes are high in saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol and increase heart disease risk. This recipe eliminates those and calls for heart-happy ingredients so you can enjoy this holiday favorite!
For the Green Beans:
- 2 lbs of fresh, trimmed green beans
For the Crispy Onion Topping:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large, thinly sliced, yellow onion
- ½ cup of almond meal
- ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ tsp sea salt
For the Mushroom Sauce:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 8-10 medium, thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
- 4 cloves of minced garlic
- 3 Tbsp chickpea flour
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- ⅓ cup of grated parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp of sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cover the casserole dish with oil. Set it aside.
- Boil the green beans in the water for 4-5 minutes or until nearly tender. Drain the water from the beans and transfer them to a large bowl of ice water to keep them slightly crispy.
- For the crispy onion topping, start by heating the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until hot.
- Add the onions and cook. Stir occasionally for 5-8 minutes or until they are tender and brown. Remove the onions and place them in a bowl to the side.
- In the same pan, add the almond meal. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until the almond meal turn golden. Be careful not to burn it.
- Remove it from the heat and place it in the bowl with the onions. Stir in the parmesan cheese and sea salt, combining the mixture. Place to the side.
- Using the same pan, add more olive oil and stir around until hot. Add the mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes or until they are tender.
- Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Stir frequently.
- Sprinkle the chickpea flour over the mushrooms and stir.
- Add the chicken broth and whisk together until smooth.
- Whisk in the almond milk and bring to a simmer. Allow it to cook for 2-3 minutes or until thickened.
- Stir in the remaining ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, sea salt, and pepper until the cheese is melted.
- Transfer the beans into the pan with the mushroom sauce and combine.
- Pour the green bean mixture into the baking dish and add onion topping.
- Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
5. Skillet Honey and Pomegranate Chicken Thighs
Recipe courtesy of No Spoon Necessary
These chicken thighs are a delicious, savory entree that will leave your guests happy and satisfied! Not only is this recipe healthy and full of beneficial herbs—but it’s also simple and quick to make. So grab your ingredients and get started on this dish for your next holiday party!
- ½ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ½ cup pomegranate molasses
- ⅓ cup pomegranate juice
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 juiced lemon
- 1 finely chopped shallot
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Optional garnish: fresh parsley, pomegranate arils, slices of lemon
- Serving suggestion: jasmine or sticky rice
- Combine salt, cumin, ginger, pepper, and chili powder in a small bowl. Rub the seasoning onto the chicken. In a medium bowl, mix liquids together including molasses, pomegranate juice, honey, vinegar, and lemon. Set aside.
- Using a large, cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, for 4-6 minutes. Be careful not to overcrowd the skillet.
- Add shallot and cook until softened for about 3 minutes. Combine cornstarch with 1 Tbsp of water and combine with a whisk, setting aside when finished.
- Add garlic to the skillet and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the liquid mixture and bring to a simmer. Add in the cornstarch mixture and whisk.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and allow the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the chicken back into the skillet and coat in the sauce.
- Serve with garnish and enjoy!
6. Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Recipe courtesy of The Food Network
Pork tenderloin is a holiday favorite—full of essential vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, potassium, zinc, and more! Add in mushrooms which give you the extra benefits of a healthier gut microbiome and an improved immune system. This is a must-try dish for your next party!
- 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 slices of chopped bacon
- 8 oz of thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 clove of finely chopped garlic
- 1 Tbsp bread crumbs
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 trimmed pork tenderloins
- ½ tsp grated lemon zest
- Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook for 8 minutes or until they are crisp. Add mushrooms, salt, and pepper to taste; cook for about 4 minutes or until they are soft. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Remove it from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs and all but 2 Tbsp of parsley.
- Soak 10-12 toothpicks in water to prevent burning. Rinse and dry the pork. Make a 1-inch cut down the length of the tenderloin, leaving it attached. Open it up and make it lie open, flat.
- Starting in the middle and working your way out, pound the flat side with a meat mallet until about ½-inch thick. Spread the mushroom mixture over the tenderloins and roll it up, beginning on the long side. Use toothpicks to fasten the joints.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat; brush the grates and pork rolls with olive oil, using salt and pepper to add flavor. Grill for about 25-30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 140 degrees F. Rotate the pork regularly. Remove it from the grill and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Top it off with the remaining parsley mixed with olive oil and lemon zest.
7. Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Eating Well
These delicious cookies are a sweet treat to end your holiday feasting! Oatmeal provides many health benefits including healthy cholesterol, balanced blood sugar levels, and improved digestion. These make a great, tasty alternative to cookies that have higher sugar content. Enjoy making these for your family and friends this Christmas!
- 1 cup of white, whole-wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
- 6 Tbsp of melted, unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ raisins
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray your baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.
- Whisk sugar, egg, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Add flour, oats, and raisins, and stir until combined.
- Scoop the mixture and dollop onto the prepared baking sheet. This recipe creates 12 cookies in each batch.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack for finish cooling.
Be inspired to get adventurous and create new, healthy holiday dishes this season. For more information on starting your health journey, contact us today!
With two locations in Lafayette, Indiana, the Lafayette Family YMCA is a community committed to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up to date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website here.